Burbank, Studio City residents raise concerns regarding NextGen at Hollywood Burbank Airport


The operations and development committee of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority learned Thursday that the noise issue surrounding Hollywood Burbank Airport extends outside Burbank’s borders.

More than 40 residents, many from Studio City, gathered at the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank Thursday night to tell committee members about the increased number of low-flying aircraft they have noticed flying above their neighborhoods since the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System, known as Next Gen.

The Airport Authority usually meets every first and third Monday of the month at Hollywood Burbank at 9 a.m., but Burbank residents and city officials have been asking the authority to bring back its evening meetings occasionally to allow those that cannot make morning meetings a chance to meet with airport officials.

This was the second special meeting the Airport Authority has held to listen to residents about their concerns about the Federal Aviation Administration’s latest transportation system, which was implemented in Southern California last March.

For about a year since the implementation of the satellite-based system in the region, airport and Burbank officials have heard from residents about how they believe NextGen has caused airplane departures to be lower when flying out of Hollywood Burbank and causing additional noise.

However, several Studio City residents told the committee that they, too, have been affected by the possible outcome of NextGen, with many saying they have been seeing planes flying over their homes more frequently and have been affected by the increased noise from flights.

“As far as I am concerned, it’s just one big nuisance,” Studio City resident David Kamin said. “As far as I’m concerned, the FAA or a governmental entity has taken my property. I wouldn’t buy a house on my street anymore. As far as I’m concerned, I ought to be compensated for them taking my property, so I can move.”

Kamin added that the planes are flying so low that he could read the numbers off the bottoms of the dozens of aircraft that fly over his house every day.

“I’ve been so irritated by the damn things,” he said.

Another Studio City resident, Kimberly Turner, told the commission that she was more annoyed by the frequency of flights over her neighborhood, which she said seems like one plane after another.

NextGen was implemented as a way to increase time and fuel efficiency for the aircraft, as well as make departures and arrivals safer.

Prior to the implementation of NextGen, Turner said planes would occasionally fly over her house, and it was not a big deal. However, she said the number of planes going over her property feels like a new permanent route that pilots are taking when they leave Hollywood Burbank, and that the noise generated by the low-flying aircraft has altered her living situation.

“This has just destroyed our peace and tranquility,” she said. “It has never been like this.”

While many residents continue to raise their concerns about NextGen to airport and city officials, Burbank resident Claudia Keene told commissioners she might have to leave the city if the noise issue is not addressed.

Keene said she sold her condominium near Victory Boulevard and Hollywood Way five years ago because she could not bear the noise generated by departing flights. She bought a house near Chandler Boulevard and Hollywood Way, hoping to get away from the noise, which worked, but not for long.

“I fear a repeat experience at my [new] condo, so much so that I’m already thinking of leaving the city,” Keene said. “I’m already starting to put out feelers as to where I want to move next.”

Saying he understands this is an issue that needs to be addressed, Airport Authority President Terry Tornek told residents during the meeting that the airport has hired the firm Landrum & Brown to investigate whether NextGen is the root of all of the concerns and complaints from residents, or if other factors may be attributing to the noise and frequency issues.

Rob Adams, executive vice president of the firm, said during the meeting that Landrum & Brown is familiar with airport issues, saying its employees have worked with the city of Charlotte, N.C., with its NextGen issues, as well as the city of Phoenix, Ariz., which recently won its lawsuit against the FAA regarding the satellite-based system.

He added that his colleague, Christian Valdes, will be working with residents and the airport authority to find out the causes of possible flight-path changes and low departures.

“We’re here to listen and to hear what you have to say,” Adams said.

Twitter: @acocarpio